India to Inaugurate First Under-Water Metro Tunnel in Kolkata on March 6: Key Points

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India is poised to achieve a groundbreaking milestone as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the nation’s inaugural under-river metro tunnel in Kolkata on March 6.

This historic tunnel, located beneath the Hooghly River, establishes a crucial link between Howrah Maidan and Esplanade, spanning a 4.8 km stretch as part of the East-West Metro corridor.  The Howrah metro station is also the one of the deepest in India.

Operating with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) technology, the tunnel is anticipated to traverse a 520-meter span under the river in just 45 seconds. Despite facing delays, mainly attributed to an aquifer burst in central Kolkata in 2019, the East-West Metro alignment aims for full commercial operation between Salt Lake Sector V and Howrah Maidan by June-July.

The subterranean corridor constitutes 10.8 km of the total 16.6 km length of the East-West Metro, complemented by an elevated stretch for the remainder. This inaugural under-river metro tunnel signifies a monumental stride in India’s urban transportation infrastructure.

* The new underwater tunnel is part of a bigger plan to make the Kolkata Metro longer. It will connect places like Salt Lake, Howrah, and Kolkata. This tunnel goes under the Hooghly River and is called the East-West Metro corridor.

* The tunnel is deep – about 26 meters below the river’s surface. Trains will run about 16 meters below the riverbed. This is the first time in India that a metro train will go under a river.

* A big company called Afcons and a Russian company called Transtonnelstroy worked together to build this tunnel. Afcons started digging in April 2017 and finished in July 2017.

* Most of the new metro line will be underground, about 10.8 kilometers. Some parts, around 5.75 kilometers, will be built on raised platforms.

* This new metro line will help reduce traffic in Kolkata, according to the railway ministry.

* Last year, Kolkata Metro did a test with two six-coach metro trains in the tunnel under the river.

* There were some delays in finishing the project because of accidents that happened during the tunnel work in central Kolkata.

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